This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
In regards to the Associated Press article, "Absences, fitness, atmosphere new ways to track schools," (The Tribune, April 18).
Looking for new metrics by which to evaluate schools will not "fix" education.
People criticize the use of test scores for school evaluation because tests ignore other dimensions that are important to intellectual development. This leads to students and schools being harmed when they don't "measure up," and some going through contortions to game the tests (which are always flawed) to artificially look good.
The solution, though, is not to find a new metric or set of metrics. The problems stem from the use of any metric be it a test or a Frankenstein's monster of a composite score to judge school quality and impose severe consequences on those who, under that lens, look bad. We would be trading one set of horror stories for another set of horror stories.
We need to come to terms with the fact that the quality of a school and education is inherently unmeasurable (and I'm saying this as a trained mathematician, who likes measuring things).
Stop trying to find new excuses to beat up on teachers.
Let them teach instead; the students will be better off.